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History of M.M.P. & W.

Eclipse Fire Company

On December 21st, 1885, the Eclipse Fire Company of Mercersburg, PA was organized and consisted of 39 members. The Department was comprised of a Silsby Steamer which could be hand or horse drawn at a cost $2,200.00 and 1000 feet of hose on two-wheeled hand drawn hose reels.  It was said a head of steam required for pumping water could be generated in the time it took to go from Town Hall to the Square.  In addition, three large cisterns were dug in the town, holding 18,000, 20,000 and 25,000 gallons of water.

Early foreground chain of command consisted of the Chief Director, 1st and 2nd Assistant Directors; the Engine Captain who placed the engine; the Hose Captain ran the hose and the Chief Plugman directed the stream.  The 1st, 2nd and 3rd Engineers and firemen were to clean the engine and keep it ready for immediate use at all times.  Lieutenants could be appointed to act in the absence of the captains.

 

The membership would be fined 50 cents if they introduced spirituous or malt liquors into the Engine House or engaged in any immoral practices.

 

In 1888, firemen were kept busy working at 15 stable fires set by a fire bug.  On October 30, 1888 a $1000 reward was offered by the Borough of Mercersburg. The men were caught and drew long terms in the penitentiary.

It was at the John L. Bekert stable fire in 1893 that the late C. Edgar Fallon, Fire Chief for 58 years, as a boy of 12 years was called upon to operate the steamer engine as two operators were sick and his father, also an operator, was out of town.

Fire Chief Edgar Fallon

In December, 1901 at a barn fire on West Seminary Street, which seemed to the anxious spectators like an age before the fire engine was in operation, turned out that the actual time was just 14 minutes from the alarm until a stream of water was playing upon the flames, and in less than an hour, they had the fire under control.  

 

In 1920 the 1885 Steamer was mounted on a Cadillac chassis. This became the department's first motorized vehicle. The first factory built vehicle came in 1924, which would last until approximately 1947. Then for the next 15 to 20 years, the equipment was updated by Fire Chief Edgar Fallon, who served as chief from 1905 to 1963.

Mercersburg Fire Department

 

On May 8 1925 there was a general call sent out to the citizens of Mercersburg to organize a "Fire Fighters Organization" which was called by unanimous vote the Mercersburg Fire Department.  Officers elected were:  Vaugh J. Byron, President; C.E. Daub, Vice President; L.L. Steiger, Secretary-Treasurer; with C. Edgar Fallon remaining as Fire Chief.

 

In these early years of motorized fire equipment, when a major fire occurred in Mercersburg, help would be summoned from Chambersburg.  They would load their engine on a rail car and send it to Mercersburg by train.  This was the quickest way to get it here due to the poor condition of the roads.  The boys at the Mercersburg Academy also helped at the larger fires.

On July 24, 1925 the Burgess and Council of the Borough of Mercersburg passed a resolution of agreement with the Mercersburg Fire Department.  The Borough then turned over to the Fire Company the use and operation of the two fire engines and equipment.  The title, however, was to remain in the name of the Borough.

One engine was a factory purchased, new, 1924 Pirsch-Reo tank combination, chemical engine pump and hose car with a 300 gpm rotary pump, two 40 gallon chemical tanks, and chemical hose basket.  The hose body had capacity to hold 1000 feet of 2 1/2 c.r.l. fire hose. This was Engine Number 1.

The other engine was a Cadillac chassis converted to a fire engine. Sometime later at a fire in Markes, PA, it blew a piston, which just missed hitting the operator.

Fires at the Elementary School and Mercersburg Academy

 

The greatest fire Mercersburg had ever known happened at 1:00 PM, October 22, 1925 at the public school, which was located at the site of the present Mercersburg Elementary school. Six firemen were overcome with smoke.  Strong winds carried sparks over a mile endangering the entire northern end of town and setting one house roof on fire.  Mercersburg placed two streams on the inferno, taking water from a hydrant and from a cistern.  One room was saved.  

On January 9, 1927, in freezing weather, Main Hall of The Mercersburg Academy, burned.  4,000 feet of hose was laid by Mercersburg and assisting fire companies. The swimming pool was used as one water source. 

For it's timely arrival and splendid work at a fire in Fort Loudon, PA on March 5, 1927, the citizens of the town presented a check in the amount of $218.00 to upgrade Fort Loudon's water supply.

A sterling siren was purchased in April, 1927 for $396.00 to sound the alert for fires.

M.M.P. & W.  Begins

Sporadic return of funds from picnics and festivals to finance the fire company spurred the taxpayers of Peters, Montgomery and Warren Townships and Mercersburg Borough to a special meeting on December 26, 1941 to authorize the Supervisors and Borough Council to assess a unit rate not in excess of one mill for fire protection.  It was resolved that a committee of two men from each township and the borough would be picked to represent each municipality in the form of a joint budget and finance committee.  Reportedly, this was the second such incorporation of it's kind in the State of Pennsylvania.

On January 22nd, 1942, the company was renamed to its present name as Mercersburg, Montgomery, Peters & Warren Volunteer Fire Company providing services to all three townships and the Borough of Mercersburg, an area covering more than 150 square miles.

Equipment consisted of #1 Reo, a 1930 Reo Speed Wagon 500 gpm pumper; #2 1932 Reo elecric generator and pumper engine; #3 1939 White 600 gpm pumper; #4, which is still admired for it's heavy construction and faithful service.  Cost of the apparatus was $3,303.89. The last four apparatus bodies were designed and built by Chief Fallon.

 

It was the marriage of the Townships and Borough that introduced water tanker operations (which were ten to fifteen years ahead of their time) to the surrounding area.  No. 1 was remodeled to carry 500 gallons of water. 

 

In 1943 the Fire Company was starting to be financed with real estate tax revenues at the rate of 3/4 mill for the Townships and 1 mill for the Borough of Mercersburg.  Also, there was some discussion, in mid-year, about giving fire protection to Metal Township.

 

In 1946 a factory built 1,053 gallon tank was mounted on a Dodge chassis. No. 5, having 1000 psi extra high pressure fog front end, 300 gpm pump, was put into service.  In 1956, an 1,100 gallon pumper-tanker No. 6 was received on an International chassis.  In early 1952, the Reo #2 was remodeled to carry 700 gallons of water with a 500 gpm pump.  These tankers were designed by Chief Fallon.

 

In 1953 the Fire Company made a contract with the Rescue Hose Company of Greencastle for better fire protection for the eastern ends of Montgomery and Peters Townships.  This contract was in effect for several years.

Chief Fallon's Innovations

Notable throughout the Fire Company history are these innovations; mobile electric generators mounted on a fire engine to supply light at night fires and festivals.  This apparatus was 25 years ahead of it's time.  Large water carrying capactiy as early as the 1940s.  Indirect application of water using the steam effect to control fire by using extra high pressure pumping engines, 1946 to 1956.  

 

In 1954, the company bought 2 way radios for the department.

In 1955 and 1956, they bought a new truck.

In 1957, in the interest of civil defense, more radio equipment was installed.  This time it was a tone-controlled monitor to sound the siren from Chambersburg.  In August of this year first discussion was held concerning organizing the Fire Police.

Aerial ladder apparatus for rescue and water application came in the late 1960's. On July 7, 1960 the Volunteers organized to form the "Eclipse Volunteer Fire Fighters", an auxiliary to the M.M.P.W. Fire Company.  The objective was to work in perfect harmony with the Mother Company, but  to be completely independent in the business activities of the Fire Board.  C.E. Snyder was elected president of this move to give the Volunteers an organizational structure (which has continued to the present day).

In 1962, it was decided to have a paid person at the salary of $5,000.00 per year.  Paul E. Taylor was to become the first paid man.

After the death of Henry Lightner (Assistant Chief and holder of a record 542 calls without a miss) and the retirement of Chief Fallon in 1964 after 70 years of service, the Fire Board re-organized, and the Fire Company moved from Fallon's Garage to the present location in 1965.

New Fire Hall - 1965

In 1964, Henry Steiger became the second fire chief and served in that position from 1964 until 1976.  Paul E. (Ed) Taylor was his 1stAssistant Chief, and Robin Robinson served as 2nd Assistant Chief. It was in this year that members were devoted to finding a lot for a building and a new fire hall.  The first meeting held at the new fire hall was on January 29, 1965.  It was at this meeting that the Fire Company accepted the offer of the Rotary Club to obtain an ambulance to be operated by the volunteers. The siren on the new fire station sounded for the first time on January 5, 1965 for a chimney fire at the Nelson Heckman home in Shimpstown.  At the end of 1965, the Fire Company had responded to 72 calls with $253,035.00 in fire losses and 138 ambulance calls with 5,392 miles traveled.

In February 1966 a request was made for a new ambulance to replace the 1959 model, which had 61,336 miles on it. 

In October 1966, at a special meeting, it was decided to purchase a second hand ladder truck from Potomac Edison at a cost of $1,201.00. 

 

In April of 1967 a Ford F850 chassis was purchased for $7,123.00 from Fulton Motors in McConnellsburg.  In May it was decided to purchase the body from Howe Fire Equipment Company at a cost of $13,395.00. Ambulance club memberships rose to include 980 families.

September, 1968, the property adjacent to the Fire Hall was purchased at a cost of $3,800.00 for expansion of the company property.

Ladies Auxiliary

Discussions concerning forming a Ladies Auxilliary were first held in December of 1968.  In February of 1969, the 14 members of the Ladies Auxiliary met and created their By-Laws. The late Mrs. Emma Tritle and Mrs. Jean Snyder organized the group.  The officers at this time were:  Mrs. Shirley Winter, President; Mrs. Betty Hoffeditz, Vice President; Mrs. Helen Bryan, Secretary; Mrs. Cecyl Starliper, Treasurer; Mrs. Helen Keefer, Financial Secretary; and Mrs. Rose Kahn, Chaplin.  The duty of the auxiliary was to raise money to help purchase new trucks.

 

A reorganization of the Ambulance Squad came in the early part of 1973.  It was also in 1973 that the Fire Company decided to start honoring its members with twienty-five or more years of service with Life Memberships.

 

In 1974 the Fire Company purchased a used 1951 Mack Rescue Truck.

 

In 1976 the Fire Company began a building addition that would be completed early the following year.  The meeting of March 31, 1977 was the first meeting to take place in the new meeting room.

Retiring Chief Henry Stieger (L) passes his helmet to new Chief Ed Snyder (R)

 In 1977, the third Fire Chief, C. Edgar Snyder was elected and served until 1983. Also in 1977, Nick Barbuzanes was appointed to the full-time employee position. Fire Board Directors were:  Albert Metcalf, President; Howard H. Stouffer, Vice President; Robert R. Brindle, Secretary; Melvin E. Thomas, Treasurer; F.L. Utermoelen, O.R. Shives, Jack A Peck and Roy L. Sollenberger.

Fire Company officers to the Volunteers were:  C.E. Snyder, Fire Chief; Donald Banks, Chief Aid; Earl A Rice, Edgar R. Hoffeditz and Ronald Bryan were the Deputy Chiefs; Homer E. Winters, Secretary; Jack Rank, Treasurer.

Junior Members

On January 18, 1979 a special meeting was held to discuss the changes that would have to be made to the Charter and By-Laws to include eighteen-year-olds along with Junior and Sparkie membership.  At the October 25, 1979 meeting, it was decided to accept into membership persons under the age of eighteen, as provided under the Pennsylvania Department of Child Labor Laws.

1980 saw a new ambulance purchased. 

At a meeting on January 29, 1981 it was decided to restore the 1939 White for parade and display purposes.

Fire Chief Nick Barbuzanes

In July, 1983, the following members were recognized for their acts in saving a 4 year old girl in a house fire in the Borough of Mercersburg at a meeting: Nick Barbuzanes, Paul N. Christophel, and Donald Stoner, Jr.

 

In August, 1983, Nick Barbuzanes was elected as acting fire chief for the remainder of that year.

 

In 1984, Nick Barbuzanes was appointed fire chief and a new rescue pumper was ordered with delivery early the next year.  The Ambulance Auxilliary also took delivery of a new Ford Horton ambulance.

In January of 1985, a 1985 Sutphen Pumper was received.

On December 11, 1989 the 911 call feature was activated for Franklin County.

The newly created ambulance positions were filled by the Fire Board at its meeting on January 2, 1991.  Following a review of eight applicants, selected were Donald (Dusty) Stoner as a full-time EMT and Curtis Bryan as the full-time ambulance driver.

 

In August of 1991, Ashes, a three-month-old Dalmatian puppy, was presented to the Volunteers by the Junior Firefighters.  September of 1991, a 1991 Sutphen was received.  The unit was designated as Engine 9-1.

 

In December of 1999, Tower 9 was received.  It is a 1977 refurbished Sutphen.  Also received in March of that year was a 1999 Sutphen Engine Tanker. 

 

In March of 2000, the 1963 Seagraves ladder truck was donated to a fire company in Tennesse.

 

In July of  2001, M.M.P.& W. took delivery of a 2001 Ford F550 which was placed in service as Rescue 9.

In December 2004, Chief Nick Barbuzanes announced his retirement effective December 31st, 2004.

On January 1st, 2005, Donald E. Stoner Jr. was named Fire Chief, as Nick Barbuzanes retired after 21 years. The company also went to having two paid personnel on the fire side and Waynesboro ALS was awarded the contract to staff the ambulances with two personnel from 5am till 5 pm.

In June 2005, the 1985 Sutphen Pumper known as Engine 9-2 was sold to the Seymour Fire Department in Tennessee. 

Fire Chief Dusty Stoner

In 2008 a four engine bay addition was added to the back of the existing building allowing for housing of the expanding fleet of vehicles.

In July 2009, the fire department purchased the adjacent Nelling property at a price of $125,000.00 and the historic Smith house that was on the property was dismantled.  The stones from the building were turned over to the Save the Smith House foundtaion so it could someday be rebuilt in another location.

 

In September 2011 after 11 years, Jon Bender resigned as Ambulance Chief.  Susan McCracken was elected to fill his vacated position effective January 2012.

Fire Chief Dale Carbaugh

On January 26, 2013 at the 44th Annual Awards banquet, Dale Carbaugh accepted the office of Fire Chief making him the sixth Fire Chief in the departments history.  At this same banquet, Jon Bender, retired Ambulance Chief was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his many years of service and contributions to the Fire Department.  He was presented with an enscribed Henry Golden Boy .22 Rifle.

February 25, 2013, Waynesboro Advanced Life Support stationed a medic unit staffed with one paramedic at MMPW.  This unit is designated as Medic 209 and is staffed 24/7.

 

October 2013 - The ambulance squad took delivery of a new 2012 Horton Type I ambulance with a 2013 4500 4x4 Dodge chassis to replace the 2004 Ford 450 Horton ambulance 9-8.  Tower 9 was sold.

 

November 2013 - Renovations began at the station to remodel the kitchen and meeting room.  The old kitchen was remodeled to include a lounge, utility room and kitchen.  The back half of the meeting room was remodeled adding a male and female bunkroom.  New tiles and carpeting were installed in the meeting room, lounge, bunk rooms, Medic office, and EMS office.  The wall of the EMS office was pushed out into the watchroom to enlarge the room.

 

November 2014 - The Volunteers, Ambulance Squad, Fire Police and Junior Firefighter auxiliaries were combined into one company and a legal name change filed changing the name to MMP&W Volunteer Fire and Ambulance Co., Inc.

July 2015 - the Fire Department purchased the abandoned VFW building and property adjacent to the fire station.  The building was named the MMPW Activity Center.

 

May 2016 - MMPW Volunteer Fire and Ambulance Co., Inc changed from 501(c)(4) to 501(c)(3) non-profit status.

 

July 2016 - MMPW and Waynesboro Advanced Life Support (Medic 2) mutually dissolved the contract for BLS staffing at the fire station.  MMPW now employs one full-time and two part-time apparatus drivers and four full-time and ten part-time EMTs.  EMTs are staffed 24/7 and Medic 209 is still staffed by one Medic 2 Paramedic on-station 24/7.   This same month, MMPW took delivery of its new ambulance, a 2016 Ford 550 Road Rescue Ambulance complete with power lift stretcher.  This ambulance was designated as Ambulance 9-9.  A power lift stretcher was installed in Dodge Horton Ambulance 9-8 in March.  

November 2016 - Franklin County Commissioners announced they had selected the MMPW Activity Center as the new home of the Magisterial District Judge's office for district 39-3-06 and retained Newcomer Associates architectural firm to redesign the portion of the interior which will be utilized by the court.  The project is scheduled to be completed and occupancy to begin by the court by spring of 2018. The office is being moved from its current location, the second floor of Mercersburg Boro Hall, to allow better handicapped accessibility and to provide more parking. This will generate $4,250 per month in income for the fire company.

 

February 8, 2018 MMPW took delivery of a 2018 Pierce Arrow XT engine.  This engine will replace the 1991 Sutphen Pumper.

 

February 15, 2018 Lemasters Community Association presented donations of $70.000.00 to the Ambulance Squad and $91,561.56 to the Fire Company.  This was a portion of the liquidation of the organization's assets after the disbandment and sale of their properties two years before.

August 2021, the fire company was awarded a $205,000 grant for the purchase of SCBAs to replace our 15-year-old, outdated equipment.

March 2022, New tanker was ordered from Pierce with the Kenworth T800 cab, for the cost of $598,000. This tanker will replace the current 1999 engine/tanker.

October 2022, Wellspan Health procured the Medic 2 operations in Franklin County.

December 2022, The fire company was awarded a $100,000 American Rescue Plan Act grant (ARPA) from the Franklin County Commissioners for various projects. The station roof was replaced, a +15 year-old emergency backup generator was replaced, and a fire alarm system was installed in the basement of the Activity Center. 

 

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Fire Chief Mark Sanders

May 2023, Mark Sanders was appointed Fire Chief by the Fire Board of Directors, and, Doug Rice was elected as Ambulance Chief.

Mark joined MMP&W at age 14 as a junior member. Mark brings to this position, years worth of experience from his fire tranings and his FT job as a FAO/FF with the City of Hagerstown Fire Dept, and with Doug's years of experience as an EMT, both with Medic 2 and MMP&W, and his knowledge with administrative duties, he is an asset to serve as MMP&Ws Ambulance Chief.

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Ambulance Chief Doug Rice

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